Alberta Government: 55% of iGaming, Sports Betting is Unregulated

Alberta, Canada, is using the example of Ontario in crafting a competitive iGaming market. Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) estimates that 55 percent of residents wager at illegal sites.

Alberta Government: 55% of iGaming, Sports Betting is Unregulated

The government of Alberta, Canada estimates that 55 percent of the sports betting and casino gaming market in the province is unlicensed black market sites, Covers reported June 13.

The report is from Alberta’s Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission (AGLC). It noted that while many bets were being placed on the Edmonton Oilers in the lead up to the Stanley Cup Finals, only 45 percent of residents of the Western province were betting with Play Alberta, the only legal online sportsbook.

Dan Keene, vice president of gaming at the AGLC declared, “We would suggest that the remaining market that’s there is the illegal market.” He added, “We don’t refer to it as the gray market. The only legal site in Alberta, of course, is Play Alberta.”

One of the most notorious “gray market” operators is Stake, which was highlighted recently when rapper Drake said he placed a $500,000 bet with it on the Oilers.

Despite such scofflaws, Play Alberta has grown to more than 313,000 player accounts, and accepted about $5.36 billion in bets in the fiscal year that ended March 31. It generated $179 million in net sales in the FY 2022-24, an increase of $35 million from the year before.

According to a press release, the money goes into the Alberta General Revenue Fund and supports government programs.

The provincial government has begun a possible introduction of a competitive iGaming marketplace similar to what Ontario has offered since April 2022. Before that, residents spent an estimated $700 million every year with unregulated sites. By contrast, this year about 86 percent of consumers were using government-licensed operators.

In that province, there are dozens of authorized sites that take sports bets and offer online casino games. The model is the only one of its kind operating in Canada, but it might not be alone much longer.

Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction Minister Dale Nally has been tasked with expanding the legal marketplace. Meantime, AGLC plans to try to attract some of the customers who are choosing black market over legal market.